Wednesday, November 25, 2009
HOW THEY GOT THERE- No.3 California comes into the matchup with a slim victory in round two, 26-21 against Shippensburg. The three losses they suffered in the regular season were non conference games. Their opponents, No.1 West Liberty gave up a number of TDs in the second round, but scored a bunch more to take the win, 84-63, and advanced to the quarterfinals.
KEY MATCHUP- This game is going to be a battle of the offense: WLS throwing the ball against California running it down the field. The Hilltoppers are ranked number one in total offense in the nation, mostly because of their passing game averaging 382.18 ypg. The Vulcans will have to fight back on the ground with rushing, which so far has accumulated 2087 yards and 24 touchdowns. More specifically, what to watch for will be California’s rushing leaders: Bacco (629+ yards), Brown (615+ yards), and Portis (383+ yards) against West Liberty’s key players in passing/receiving: Amedro (4580 passing yards), Travis (1055+ receiving yards), and Walls (1176+ receiving yards).
PREDICTION- Along with home field advantage, West Liberty is a team that has players shattering records left and right. Zach Amedro alone has set two records in the WVIAC for passing yards and touchdowns in a season (47). California is a very skilled team as well, but I don’t think they can compare to the Hilltoppers’ offensive drive. I give this game to West Liberty in a blowout victory 52-18.
Super Regional 2- #1 University of North Alabama vs. #2 Carson-Newman by Brice Burge
HOW THEY GOT HERE: The Lions were able to double up Arkansas Tech 70-35 at home while the Eagles put away the third Gulf South Conference team of West Alabama. UNA won the GSC this year, losing the final game of the season to UWA while Carson-Newman won the Southern Athletic Conference. These two teams met up earlier in the season with UNA winning 31-14.
KEY MATCHUP: Preston Parker, TJ Porter, and Mico McSwain vs. the Eagle secondary. The top three WR’s for the Lions have been lighting up the scorching DB’s all year, including combining for 255 yards on 21 catches in the week 2 contest of these two teams. Parker and Porter are dealing from recent injuries (Porter receiving a concussion in the regional semifinals) which should help the Eagles who were last in the SAC and ranked 129 in the country. However, it the Eagles can shut down the passing game, the defense can stop the run, as CN gives up only 109.8 yards on the ground a game.
PREDICTION: The biggest key to this game is Time of Possession, because Carson-Newman can keep the highly potent offense of the Lions off the field. The Eagles will avenge their second week loss with some big yards from RB’s Wakefield and Inman and QB Good and win their first playoff game against UNA since 1997. Carson-Newman 30 North Alabama 21
Super Regional 3- #1 University of Minnesota Duluth vs. #2 Grand Valley State University by Brice Burge
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Both teams won big games against quality opponents last week with the Bulldogs whomping RMAC champs Nebraska Kearney 42-7 and the Lakers getting sweet revenge for their one loss of the regular season against the Hillsdale Chargers 44-27. Both teams won their respective conferences with a 10-1 record. These teams are no strangers of each other, as they fought each other in last year’s regional final with the Bulldogs winning 19-13 in 2OT.
KEY MATCHUP: Berezik and Gates vs. the Bulldog front seven. The two tailbacks have been solid for the Lakers as they average 161.2 ypg between the two of them but also allows Harlon Hill candidate Brad Iciek to do a solid job at QB. Last year’s playoff game against the UMD proved that an uncomfortable Iciek can lead to problems. The Lakers have had only two game-clinching fourth quarter drives this year, one at Ferris State and one at home versus Northern Michigan. However in the regional semifinals, the ‘Dogs showed the strength to handle a solid running team in the Lopers on their home turf, holding UNK to only 158 yards.
PREDICTION: It actually looks like Hillsdale will get the last laugh here, as their regular season win over GVSU gave UMD the higher seed. The home field, plus the injury depleted Laker team just cannot hold up to the #1 seed in the Midwest. The Grand Valley Revenge Tour gets derailed by the Repeat Express. 34-24 Minnesota Duluth
Superregional 4- #2 Northwestern Missouri State vs #1Central Washington by J. Naracon
HOW THEY GOT THERE- CWU was given the # 1 seed after an undefeated season. NWM State entered the playoffs with the #2 seed. NWM State’s only regular season loss came during the first week of play from Abilene Christian, which NWM State just defeated in the previous round 35-10. Both NWM State and CWU enter the game with at least a three touchdown win over their previous opponents
KEY MATCHUP- It’s no surprise the test for this game will be the Bearcat’s offense against the Wildcat’s defense. NWM State has been superior in rushing and passing touchdowns, collecting 29 rushing TDs and 39 through the air. On the other hand, CWU’s total defense is ranked second in the nation. They have sacked the quarterback 25 times, and in the previous game against Tarleton State, held the rushing offense to minus 14 yards. Both teams should make this game an interesting one to view.
PREDICTION- The Bearcat’s defense will be a tough matchup for the Wildcat’s offense, despite the previous key matchup. Northwestern ranks higher in a many aspects of the game, so I give this game to them. NWMS 20 CWU 17
Monday, November 23, 2009
Part 2 - The interview with Walt Kyle continued..... then Brice joins Pete to discuss the latest on the NMU hoops teams.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Part 14 Final
The Northern Michigan Wildcats fell to the Hillsdale Chargers at the NCAA Regional quarterfinals by a score of 3-2 in a very close match on Thursday, losing in the opening round for the second straight year.
Hillsdale won the first two sets by scores of 25-23 and 25-22, but Northern retaliated to win sets three and four 25-17 and 25-21. The last set of the game was by far the closest and most competitive. The lead went back and forth between the two teams, but the Chargers took control after an 11-11 tie to knock down the Wildcats efforts for a comeback, winning the set 15-12. This is the third time this post-season the Chargers have defeated a team they lost to in the regular season. Northern Michigan ends their season with a record of 19-12, while Hillsdale advances to play the University of Indianapolis in the semifinals on Friday.
The GVSU Lakers started out the game strong after winning the first set 25-21, but that would be the only point in the match where they would have the lead. The SVSU Cardinals dominated the last 3 sets of the match 25-15, 25-20, and 25-18, ending Grand Valley’s season with a record of 16-13. The Cardinals advance to play the Lewis Flyers in the semifinals on Friday.
The Lewis Flyers destroyed the Ferris State Bulldogs in the NCAA Regional quarterfinals 3-0 on Thursday, ending Ferris’ season 19-12.
The Flyers took control of the game right from the start and refused to let the Bulldogs take the lead. Ferris made many attempts to overcome Lewis’ domination, but the Flyers kept a tight hold on their lead, winning each set 25-20, 25-27, and 25-21 respectively. This was Ferris’ first appearance at the NCAA regional since 2006. Lewis advances to play SVSU in the semifinals on Friday.
The University of Indianapolis defeated Michigan Tech 3-0 in the NCAA Regional quarterfinals, advancing to play Hillsdale in the NCAA semifinals on Friday.
The UIndy Greyhounds had a 4-point lead for the majority of the game until the last set, when the Huskies had their first lead. Tech came back from being under 6-1 to tie it at 8-8. The set continued back and forth until the Greyhounds had a 4-point run to make it 20-15. UIndy ended up winning all three sets 25-20, 25-19, and 25-20, ending Michigan Tech’s season with a record of 14-15 and advancing to their 3rd straight NCAA second-round appearance. UIndy defeated Hillsdale in the opening round of the 2007 NCAA’s.
The winner of the UIndy/Hillsdale game will advance to the finals to play the winner of the SVSU/Lewis game on Saturday, November 21.
Cat Chat semis predictions: One more match for only one GLIAC team: the Saginaw Valley Cardinals. SVSU has the depth and position players to defeat the #11 ranked Lewis flyers, and will win it in 4. However GLIAC champion Hillsdale, despite proving themselves in the conference tournament and opening round, will fall to the strongest team in the Midwest in 4.
Cat Chat finals predictions: UIndy 3 SVSU 0. The Greyhounds are just too strong for any GLIAC team this year.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
#1 Minnesota Duluth vs. #4 Nebraska Kearney
HOW THEY GOT HERE: The Bulldogs were given the top seed after a 10-1 season and an undefeated Northern Sun schedule. The Lopers are 11-1 after a come from behind victory against SVSU to win their first playoff game in 29 years. Both teams one loss came from non conference opponents: UMD losing to Central Washington (11-0 top seed in SR 4) and UNK losing to Wayne State College (8-3 NSIC). This will be the first matchup between the two teams.
KEY MATCHUP: Loper O vs. Bulldog D- It may sound like a cop out to put one side of the team against the other, but when UNK is putting up 475 ypg for the eighth most yards in the country and the Bulldogs are ranked fourth in total defense giving up only 276 ypg. Seven players for Kearney are on the first or second all RMAC teams and Robbie Aurich, NSIC defensive POTY, leads six players on the first team NSIC North. The overall depth that both these programs have on these respective sides of the ball will be great to watch.
PREDICTION: The awesome O against the dependable D almost always ends up with the defensive team coming up with the win, and usually pretty comfortably. Being the defending NCAA D2 champions on your home turf just continues to spell problems for the Lopers. UMD 35 UNK 17
#2 Grand Valley vs. #6 Hillsdale
HOW THEY GOT HERE: The Lakers were given the first round bye after a 10-1 overall record and the GLIAC championship. The Chargers won on a Petro field goal in overtime on the road against MN State-Mankato. GVSU’s only loss came on the road at the Chargers homecoming 27-24, giving GLIAC fans the rematch they’ve been itching for, especially the Hillsdale fans; they’ve already bought out the visiting seating areas and some on the home side as well.
KEY MATCHUP: Panizzi (Hillsdale RB) vs. Grand Valley D-Line – Panizzi is the best power running back in the GLIAC by far. His ability to grind out first downs (Hillsdale is #1 in GLIAC for third down conversion) helps the Chargers dictate their pace. However GVSU leads the GLIAC in sacks and opponents third down conversion.
PREDICTION: Not many teams can come into Allendale and play well, ask Ashland. But this Charger team, led by GLIAC Coach of the Year, Keith Otterbein, will have a strong second half to make this game exciting. Grand Valley 31 Hillsdale 27
The Northern Michigan University women’s volleyball team is headed to the University of Indianapolis this weekend to compete in the 2009 NCAA Division II Midwest Regional. This is the second straight appearance for the Wildcats, as they lost to the UIndy Greyhounds in the opening round last year.
“(We’re) really excited to play at the NCAA Regional Tournament. It was the team’s goal to make it back to the tourney and compete at a higher level,” said NMU head coach Dominic Yoder.
Northern is one of six GLIAC teams, along with Hillsdale, Saginaw Valley, Grand Valley, Ferris State, and Michigan Tech, to advance to the NCAA regional. The other two teams, the top seeded University of Indianapolis Greyhounds and the Lewis Flyers, compete in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. Indianapolis grabbed the top spot in the regional after a 3-1 victory on Sunday over Lewis in the GLVC Championship, giving the Greyhounds their 21 straight win this season. This will be their third straight NCAA appearance.
The NMU Wildcats, who tied for second place in the GLIAC North with Grand Valley, will be paired up in the quarterfinals against the fifth-seeded Hillsdale Chargers, who are coming off of five straight wins and their first GLIAC Championship Tournament title after beating Saginaw Valley Sunday 3-2. Despite Hillsdale’s tournament title, Hillsdale is seeded below both SVSU and NMU. Of the six GLIAC teams that advanced to the regional, Hillsdale is the only team from the GLIAC South. The GLIAC North had 56 conference wins to only 40 for the South. The Chargers lost to NMU 3-1 in Marquette and went 1-2 in the GLIAC-GLVC crossover tournament last month.
“It will be fun to play (against) Hillsdale again. They have a very competitive team that is playing very well,” said Yoder.
Indianapolis will host the regional, which lasts from Thursday, November 19 through Saturday November 21.The quarterfinals begin at Indianapolis on Thursday at 12pm. The match-ups and times for Thursday’s Quarterfinals are as follows:
Match # 1: No. 3 Saginaw Valley (21-9, 12-4 GLIAC) vs. No. 6 Grand Valley (16-12, 11-5 GLIAC) at 12pm Cat Chat prediction: SVSU 3-1 (25-21, 25-17, 22-25, 25-20)
Match # 2: No. 2 Lewis (30-4, 14-0 GLVC) vs. No. 7 Ferris State (19-11, 10-6 GLIAC) at 2:30pm Cat Chat prediction: Lewis 3-1 (20-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-19)
Match # 3: No. 4 Northern Michigan (19-11, 11-5 GLIAC) vs. No. 5 Hillsdale (23-7, 12-4 GLIAC) at 5pm Cat Chat prediction: NMU 3-2 (21-25, 19-25, 28-26, 25-22, 15-12)
Match # 4: No. 1 Indianapolis (35-1, 13-1 GLVC) vs. No. 8 Michigan Tech (14-14, 10-6 GLIAC) at 7:30pm Cat Chat Prediction: UIndy 3-0 (25-20, 25-15, 25-18)
Monday, November 16, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
The tempo was off, no one was in tune and the words never seemed to line up, but for the members of the football team and marching band, it was the perfect symphony of the bond between the two groups.
After the 41-14 victory over the 4-7 Indianapolis Greyhounds, a group of five players, led by senior running back Mark Bossuah, guided the team across the field. As soon as the band ended their song, a shout rang out from the trumpet section: “BOO!” “SUAH!” responded the rest of the band.
As the band shouted out the team’s top rusher, #21 himself climbed up onto a bench to show his gratitude to his fans.
“Mark's a great guy and very easy to get along with,” said senior trumpet player Marty Fredrick, the creator of the cheer. “I thought it would be good since he's such a prevalent player on the team. Mark also stands out to us quite a bit because he's got such a memorable last name.”
The two Wildcats met each other in their HS 390 class, an upper level history class. The two started talking when Fredrick wished Bossuah good luck before one of the football games. Soon after, the two built a special bond between two different kinds of players and fans.
“Marty would tell me how much he loved football and I would then tell him about how much the music in the band pumped me up,” said Bossuah.
It was once a common practice for the football team to approach the band at some point in the season to sing in appreciation for all of the work the Pride of the North put in throughout the season; however, the last time the singing happened was before 2006.
The special thing about this specific sequence of events is the bridge it creates across certain social barriers. For as long as there have been marching bands and football teams, there have been the cliques that separate the two. For Northern, the uncharacteristic bond is a celebrated difference from the norm.
“If anyone’s school was like mine, the football team and the band didn’t really have any sort of connection or bond,” said Fredrick. “[It was] simply because of cliques and the coolness factor that always is there in high school.”
The Pride of the North is losing 15 seniors this season: Fredrick and his wife Kaylynn, Drum Major Sarah Moulder, Mellophones Jen Boese and Mary Ann Rotter, tenor saxophones Jill Van Landghen and Trista Zdroik, Color Guard Cathy Crane, trombone Ashlee Yziquierdo, clarinet Erin Jones, trumpets Garrett Romero and Katie Miedona, and drumline Steve Boniface, Tyler Clark and Rachael Wilber.
The losses of Marty and Garrett will be especially missed as the two are some of the top hecklers from the band. In addition to the music played at the game, the heckling is another way the band tries to help out the team.
“The heckling started simply as a measure of trying to help the team out by demoralizing the opposing team,” said Fredrick. “[We’re] basically trying to get them to think more about the band rather than the football team.”
As the season ended for both band and team, the respect and bond the two groups had for each other culminated in one magical moment: a group of 200 Wildcat players, singing their best, “for Northern’s glory, for the green and gold.”
Monday, November 9, 2009
Part 2 - A feature on former NMU and olympic hockey player Eric Le Marque, plus recap and analysis of NMU hockey's weekend series with Ohio State and a preview of the upcoming GLIAC tournament for NMU Volleyball.
Full Interview with Eric Le Marque
The cross country team ended their season as well last Saturday at the NCAA Midwest regionals, finishing 13th. Freshman Olivia Juntilla was the first Wildcat to finish with a 23:52. Jenny Wiedmeyer, Bibiane Mahy, Rita Woitas, and Kristin Schulz also scored for the ‘Cats. Grand Valley won the regional scoring only 23 points and Ferris State’s Christine Muir was the individual winner with a 21:34.
The Swimming & Diving team fought a tough rivalry meet against former NMU coach Jon Wilson and his new team in UW-Oshkosh, as the Wildcats fell to the Titans 117-120. The meet came to the very last event, as the 200 Free Relay team of Sawka, Klin, Backman, and Stedman was .18 seconds behind the host team. Next action is at the Calvin College Invite in Grand Rapids. Box score
Super Regional 3 Preview
3 GLIAC teams made the Super Regional 3 playoffs in football, bringing with it some much deserved respect for the conference. Grand Valley (10-1, L31-19 @ GV) gets the bye, while Saginaw Valley (9-2, W23-20 @ SV) is in the fifth seed and Hillsdale (9-2, L35-24 @NMU) gets the sixth and final spot.
#5 SVSU @ #4 Nebraska-Kearney (10-1 RMAC champs). SVSU has the advantage in terms of playoff experience as the Cardinals are 4-5 in the postseason, while the host Lopers are 2-6 all time and 0-4 at home in the playoffs. The home team will want the ball on the ground as the UNK led the RMAC in rushing offense (258.1 ypg) and rushing defense (76.3 ypg). However the rushing D of SVSU is nothing to laugh at either giving up only 88.1 ypg. Winner will play defending D2 champs UM-Duluth.
Key matchup: Dowdell vs UNK secondary: The Indiana State transfer has 11 TD’s and picks this season and is 10th in the GLIAC for passing efficiency while UNK gave up the least amount of passing TD’s in the RMAC this year. In the last 5 wins for the Cardinals, Dowdell was 53-92-3 with 6 TD’s, but the opponents’ combined overall record was 16-38 with 13 of those wins by Ashland and Findlay. UNK got 14 picks, and gave up 218.1 ypg this season.
Prediction: Saginaw Valley’s only shot to win is with a balanced offense and I just don’t think Dowdell can open up the passing game enough to do this. UNK wins their first home playoff game 17-10.
#6 Hillsdale @ #3 Minnesota State (10-1, NSIC south champs) This is the first home playoff game for the Mavericks, while the Chargers will play their first postseason game since the NAIA playoffs in ’88. MSU was the first seed in the regional until a last week loss at the hands of St. Cloud State sent them to the 3 seed. Hillsdale barely hung onto a playoff spot as their SOS fell like a rock the last weeks of the season, but had the huge win over Grand Valley at their homecoming earlier this season. Turnovers will be the big key for this game as MSU had a +14 TO ratio, but was -3 with 9 fumbles in their loss and 2 overtime games this year. Winner will play Grand Valley in Allendale.
Key Matchup: Hillsdale Passing vs. MSU defense: Troy Weatherhead is probably one of the most underlooked QB’s in the GLIAC with Iciek and Cundiff getting a lot of the fame, but Weatherhead leads in passing yards and is third in efficiency. He also has two of the top WR in the GLIAC with Kegg and Holmes (1&3 in GLIAC with receptions). MSU has given up over 200 ypg in the air this year and has only 9 picks.
Prediction: Hillsdale o-line can handle the Mavericks pressure and when the passing gets old, the power running backs of the Chargers will win it. Hillsdale 27- MSU 14
Monday, November 2, 2009
Part 2 - Nick Mankoci and Sean Kelly join Pete to break down the Wildcat hockey team's weekend series with Miami and preview Ohio State. Then Brice Burge joins Pete to discuss the latest on the NMU soccer team.